Let’s get to it.
It seems to me that our scriptures today address our experience of exile. That is what Isaiah 40 did back then and that is what it seems to do even this day.
This passage characterizes exile as people feeling “disregarded” by God, saying “Haven’t we suffered enough?” We are a people who, unlike God, grow faint, weary, become weak, and faint at different points in our lives. We all need some sort of vigor, having lost our youthful strength.
I’m guessing that not all of us like such a characterization, especially the youthful and vigorous! It’s the “holiday season” in which we’re all supposed to be joyful and happy and full of vigor for entertaining and purchasing mass quantities of goods.
Yet a few of us find these days less than “holidays” or even “holy days.” 2009 has been a tough year for many of us – illnesses, losses, sorrows, “the economy,” as well as wars and threats of wars. Perhaps even some folks who put on happy faces experience some deep, lingering sort of emotion like an exile, feeling on the outside of it all.
I think that is why the gospel invitation from Jesus is so poignant: “Come to me all who are weary… Learn from me… Take my yoke… Find rest…”
The most difficult darn thing for folks in exile to do is trust again after disappointment or disillusionment. But, that is what Jesus invites us to do today. And I think that’s the basic reality that Advent always invites us to face – can we trust after betrayal, after loss, or after diminishment?
In other words, how easy is it to trust God after exile? Or, while we experience exile now? How easy is it to believe that we will rise up “on wings of eagles?”
If any of this addresses your experience at this time in life, at this time in the Church year, it may be just the right time to recall how such experiences might open for us a way of entering the world of refugees, of people facing famine and starvation, of people who make thirty-five cents an hour making clothing or shoes for some multi-national corporation in the third world. Perhaps our sense of exile might help us form a bond with others who also suffer.
Happy Advent! Come, Lord Jesus!
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook